The owners want to prove to their fans that they are trying to build a winner. A team that will get better year after year, and hopefully with a little luck win the Stanley cup! The problem is they are trying to one up their fellow owners and outbidding them for the services of 4th line hacks! That is why the salaries are so out of flux. It's not the big name stars commanding 7-10 million, it's the bottom feeders, the guys with not enough skill to stick in the league by playing the game the way it was meant to be played, fast and skillful. They have to clog the neutral zone and clutch and grab the stars. These guys making 2-3 million and in some cases 4-5 million is what has become a disaster. This is obvioulsy due to Bettman and his great idea to expand the league. Well now you have all these teams, a very watered down on ice product, and you are trying to sell it to people who don't care. Bettman had thought that he would have all of this TV money, ala NFL, and that would take care of everything, but the game suffered, and the lack of skill players, made it very difficult for these newer teams to win. If they didn't win, or atleast compete, then they couldn't get any fans to come watch. Enter the Neutral Zone Trap. The great equalizer, a way for pathetic teams to not only keep the games close against far superior teams, but even win some. The great tragedy that befell all of us true hockey fans, was that now you have 2/3 of the league using that system, and thus we get 1-1 and 2-1 games. Fans of baseball are realizing that it's all about the long ball now. There is very little station to station ball, and stealing bases which was an art at one time, has all but been stripped away. People want to see home runs, and the NHL is no different. Fans want to see goals, or at the very least high paced action, with lots of scoring chances. Baseball took awhile to get it, but they are welcoming fans back in droves all over the United States. I wonder if the NHL will get it, before there are no fans left to welcome back.